Friday, August 15, 2008

Voices In History

Kay Winters Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak
J 973.3115 Winters
Right before the Boston Tea Party, voices of the townspeople are speaking of the turbulent times and how these times affected them. Hear the voices of both Patriots and Loyalists. A Basket Trader, a Native American, describes the difficulty of walking between two worlds. The Blacksmith’s Slave speaks of the irony of the talk of freedom---a freedom he would never experience. Historical notes explain the work of colonial occupations such as a milliner, wigmaker, silversmith apprentice and more. A glossary defines some wonderful colonial words like—fripperies, wag-on-the-wall, and whispering sticks. A list of further reading completes this interesting book.

Laura Amy Schlitz Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices From A Medieval Village
J 812.6 Schlitz
These are voices or soliloquies of medieval villagers. Life was portrayed realistically as brutish and harsh. The year depicted was 1255---with all the maggots, lice, and dung thrown in. I totally recommend this book. For me, the most poignant part of the story was the voice of Jack, cruelly labeled by others as “Lack-a-wit Numskull Mooncalf Fool.” Only his sister has faith in him and treats him kindly. One day Jack comforts and aids a disliked boy who is beaten up; and because the boy does not (from that day forth) join in the taunts, Jack comes to consider him a friend. Voices to touch your heart!

Kay Winters Voices of Ancient Egypt
J 932 Winters
The voices of thirteen people of varying occupations during the Old Kingdom are featured. Especially interesting to me were the voices of the pyramid builder, birdnetter, and clothes washer. Women are represented as farmer, weaver, and dancer. The illustrations are very attractive in golden/brown hues. An historical note adds more information on the occupations and a bibliography of sources rounds out the book.

Mary E. Lyons (ed) Feed The Children First: Irish Memories of the Great Hunger
J 941.5081 Feed
The year was 1845; over eight million people lived in Ireland. The Irish farmers’ main crops like barley, oats, and wheat went to pay their landlord’s rent. The Irish farmer family lived on potatoes. A family with four kids ate about five tons of potatoes a year. During this same year, a fungus spread, killing the potato crops. People began to starve. One million Irish died and 1.5 million Irish left Ireland. The voices in this book tore at my heartstrings. This is the tragic story of starvation, poor houses, and soup kitchens—and the hope for the relief efforts. The author’s grandfather was an Irish survivor.

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